Fifth Circuit Affirms M&S Verdict in Fraud Case

February 5, 2018

Last year, M&S won a unanimous jury verdict in a federal court fraud case. The victory was a “featured verdict” in Texas Verdict Search.

Our client, a widow with two children, claimed her childhood sweetheart had taken advantage of her and coaxed her into signing away life insurance proceeds left by her deceased husband. The Defendant claimed that the money was a gift, as documented by numerous “gift letters.” The jury unanimously found in favor of our client and awarded punitive damages.

Following the trial, the Defendant appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, claiming legal issues required the verdict to be set aside. The Defendant argued that its affirmative defense of “gift” barred our client’s claims.

On December 15, 2017, the Fifth Circuit affirmed our client’s jury verdict, holding that the Defendant was required to prove the money was a “gift” by clear and convincing burden, and that the jury was in its discretion to find that the Defendant had not met its burden.

The case is Julieta Alejandra Gomez Olvera v. Juan Mauricio Nelligan, No. 17-20077, In the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Dec. 15, 2017). The opinion can be found here.

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